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The grainy gold and vested interests behind the mining controversy

The grainy gold and vested interests behind the mining controversy

June 05, 2017 07:50 PM

Nimrat Kaur

When older generations talk about huge mounds of sand covering landscape of Punjab, its difficult to even visualise the ease of availability. For now, sand is the grainy gold of the developing Punjab, a commodity which is the centre of a huge debate and controversy. In the Akali-BJP government, Sand mafia took over this crore business and commoners had to pay the asking price because the mafia was in powerful political hands. This was one of the main issue for a wipe out of Akali-BJP reign and people had pinned all their hopes on the new congress government or rather Captain Amarinder Singh.

People of Punjab had supported Captain and believed that he will save them from all variety of mafia controlling their lives. But within three short months, people seem to be questioning their choice. The E-auction of sand was a unique step by the government to bring transparency in the sand mining but that has become the controversy that seems to be dividing the Congress itself.

The contention that Cabinet Minister’s former cook cannot be an industrialist seems incongruous in the country that is proud to have a tea stall vendor as its PM and we are not clear wether he has a former manager or a cook.

There is lot more to the sand mining controversy than what is coming to the public. The mine in contention is one the most profitable one and that is maybe the reason for all the noise. More than a controversy about ministers involvement , there seems to more critical questions that need to be focussed on. The SIT on the case will give the judgement in about three weeks from now and any illegal dealing , if any, between the former employee and the minster will be clear.This is a Congress government under a BJP regime, the IT invasions are not going to overlooked.

Sand Mining has grown to be 3000crore business annually and with such heavy stakes, players are not common people. But common person as the consumer needs to concentrate on the factors that have bearing on their real life.

The question that public need to ask is if that will they have to bear the burden of the heavy auction or the government has a clear plan to keep the prices in control? Will the government be able to get the sand rates at affordable rates and when? How will the government manage the environmental risks and control illegal excessive mining?

Is the rush of sensationalism that is creating a controversy that suits vested interests. Two months or even almost three is too short a time to arrive on a verdict about the government. In this three party race for relevance, every thing seems to be fair for the players who are in war with each other.

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Rozana Spokesman is a Punjabi-language daily newspaper in India. During its earlier years it was a weekly newspaper. The newspaper takes an independent stand in all the matters related to Punjab, and Sikhs and the Sikh religion in particular

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